When a person thinks of a sports hero one usually thinks of people such as Martin St. Louis
, who scored the winning goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, or Ruslan Fedotenko, whose two goals won Game 7 of the Finals and the Stanley Cup for the Lightning. On Tuesday, Tampa Bay defenseman Nolan Pratt took time to honor a totally different kind of hero when he welcomed first graders from Broward Elementary for the fifth annual Kids Are Heroes program.
In his third assisting with the program, Pratt, along with the Lightning Foundation and St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, hosted more than 100 students for a morning of learning what it takes to be a hero. Children in eight groups participated in eight different stations that included an activity section where students tried their hand at stopping pucks as a goaltender, a fire safety station which showed everyone how to 'stop, drop and roll', a water safety station, a pedestrian safety station, a nutrition area and a 'buckle-up in back' station which emphasized the importance of wearing a seat belt while riding in the back seat of a car.
For participating every student received a Passport to Safety which recognized that they had finished the program.
Following the presentations Pratt made a final speech about the importance of safety. Afterwards the defenseman knelt for a picture with the kids before lunch. Pratt took over as chief ambassador for the program from former Lightning Captain Dave Andreychuk who participated with Kids are Heroes for two years.
St. Joseph's Children's Hospital is in its 10th year recognizing extraordinary children from six surrounding counties through Kids are Heroes. It is a way for teachers, mentors, parents and friends to nominate a young person who has gone above and beyond in contributing to our community and to reinforce their acts through positive recognition.
Thanks to the Lightning Foundation, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital and individuals such as Pratt, lessons learned through the Kids are Heroes program may one day allow these children to one day save themselves or maybe even another person's life.